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Magma 2019/20 Poetry Competition

The Magma 2019/20 Poetry Competition is now open for entries in both categories.

The Judge’s Prize – poems of 11 to 50 lines
The Editors’ Prize – poems of up to 10 lines

Award-winning poet Caroline Bird is the judge for the Judge’s Prize for poems of 11 to 50 lines and she will be reading all entries – there are no sifters.

The Editors’ Prize is judged by a panel of Magma Editors and is for poems of up to 10 lines. The prize money for both competitions is the same, so double your chances and try your luck at both.


Caroline Bird

In the middle of the forest there is an unexpected clearing that can only be found by those who have gotten lost. – Tomas Tranströmer

I think, in every really good poem, there is an unexpected clearing. A moment, however small, the poet didn’t see coming… a realisation stumbled across en-route. Marie Howe said ‘the writing of the poem is an experience, not the record of an experience.’ I want to read poems where an act of discovery has occurred, where the poet has surprised themselves somehow – even just in a very subtle way – during the experience of writing. Often we have a ‘plan’ of how we think our poem will unfold but a poem that goes to plan never reveals anything new, you need the poem to speak back to you, surprise you, expand upon and deviate from the plans you had for it… and that’s how it proves – like a child – its aliveness. Also, I promise I’m not looking for any style in particular so please please write in the style of yourselves. I can’t wait to read your work, thank you for letting me.

Caroline Bird, Judge, Magma Poetry Competition


First prize for the Judge’s and Editors’ Prize is £1000, second prize £300 and third prize £150. The six prize-winning poems will be published in Magma and there will also be five special mentions for the Judge’s Prize and for the Editors’ Prize. Winning and commended poets will be invited to read their poems at a Magma Competition Event in Spring 2020.

Last year’s winning poems are published in the Work Issue (Issue 74) available here.


How to enter the Magma 2019/20 Poetry Competition

You may enter via submittable here


Download and print the Competition Entry Form


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